Using standard text formatting conventions for lists

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.1 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.1.


Plain text documents. Not applicable to technologies that contain markup.

This technique relates to Success Criterion 1.3.1: Info and Relationships (Sufficient as a way to meet an unwritten technique).


The objective of this technique is to use text formatting conventions to create simple lists of related items. Hierarchical lists or nested lists cannot be represented using this technique and should be represented using a different technology.

A list is a sequence of list items. A list item is a paragraph that begins with a label. For unordered lists, asterisks, dashes, and bullet characters may be used as the label, but the same label characters must be used for all the items in a list. For ordered lists, the label may be alphabetic or numeric, and may be terminated by a period or a right parenthesis. The labels must be in ascending order, that is,


Example 1: Unordered list

- unordered list item
- unordered list item
- unordered list item

Example 2: Numeric ordered list

1. Ordered list item
2. Ordered list item
3. Ordered list item

Example 3: Roman numeral ordered list

i.   Ordered list item
ii.  Ordered list item
iii. Ordered list item
iv.  Ordered list item

Example 4: Alphabetic ordered list

A) Ordered list item
B) Ordered list item
C) Ordered list item



For each list in the text content

  1. Check that each list item is a paragraph that starts with a label
  2. Check that the list contains no lines that are not list items
  3. Check that all list items in a list use the same style label
  4. Check that the labels in ordered lists are in sequential order
  5. Check that the labels in each unordered list are the same

Expected Results

  • All checks above are all true.